A BOBIT PUBLICATION : JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011
MANAGING 10-50 COMPANY VEHICLES : WWW.BUSINESSFLEET.COM
GPS CUTS OVERTIME AND BOOSTS PRODUCTIVITY
GROW WILL SMITH MANAGES A GROWING FLEET FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S VECTOR RESOURCES INC.
ON WHEELS FROM SPRINTER TO SPRINKLES-
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SMARTER. At Ford Fleet, we never stop learning. We believe in continually pushing ourselves to bring the best thinking and innovations to market. Our exclusive Crew Chief ™ feature* is just one example. It provides real-time telematics, for tracking routing times, fuel economy, vehicle performance/maintenance, engine idle times, even vehicle speed and location. With online access to Crew Chief’s customizable tools and displays, ﬂeet managers get critical, up-to-date information exactly when they need it. Ford Fleet. Get More.
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*Optional feature available on select models. Some features are unavailable while driving.
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DEPARTMENTS 4 Exhaust Congress’ alt-fuel agenda
6 Road Signs ■ IIHS Selects
Top Safety Picks ■ Senate Extends Ethanol Tax Credit ■ Subaru, Infiniti Earn ALG’s Best Residual Value Awards
22 Executive Showroom ■ 2011 Mazda2 ■ 2012 Fiat 500
■ 2011 Dodge Durango
VOL. 12, NO. 1
12 Using GPS to Reduce Payroll Expense Payroll fraud and inefficient use of labor and resources are ever-present concerns for the harried fleet manager. Learn how three fleets are using GPS systems to realize significant reductions in payroll expense.
16 A Plan for Growth Since Will Smith joined Vector Resources, the company has expanded from a cable installation business to a major IT network provider for Fortune 500 companies. Learn how Smith has managed the fleet to keep pace.
18 Good Enough to Eat Owners of an upscale cupcake bakery have transformed their Mercedes Sprinter into a mobile sales center and an extension of their brand.
32 Toolbox 26 Selector Index 34 WEX Index 36
36 Revving Up Handling driver pushback on GPS and telematics
ON THE COVER When Will Smith went to work for Vector Resources Inc. in 1999, he had no idea how much the company — and his job — would change. Turn to Page 16 to learn more about this Southern California success sotry.
20 Ford Takes Fleet Vehicle Crown Business Fleet readers chose the Ford Fusion/Fusion Hybrid and the F-150 as Fleet Car and Truck of the Year.
ON THE WEB For weekly updates, visit www.businessfleet.com
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Congress Sets Alt-Fuel Agenda In its new, $858 billion tax bill, Congress allowed to expire a five-year-old tax credit for hybridelectric, clean diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered vehicles while extending a 45-cents-per-gallon tax credit for ethanol. In a Dec. 16, 2010 Auto Focus blog post, the editor opined that federal lawmakers, rather than technological innovators, were setting the course of alternative-fuel use. Will the new tax bill discourage fleets from going green? Here’s how readers responded:
he emphasis should be on natural gas. We are sitting on an ocean of it, and a tax credit is needed to help it become viable. I purchased a CNG truck this year, and saw the cost of a “gallon” of CNG increase by 50 percent when the fuel tax credit expired. This pretty much wiped out the savings I was getting, but not the CNG hassles: You have higher costs if systems fail, difficulty in finding refueling stations, and poorer fuel economy and performance. When a gallon of CNG cost one-third that of gasoline, it was all worth it.
Now, with a cost closer to two-thirds of gasoline, it won’t be. My truck is dual-fuel, and if the CNG conversion fails, I won’t fix it. Without the tax credit, it isn’t worth the bother. It would be nice if I were willing to make an economic sacrifice for the environment, but the reality is, I bought the vehicle for the cost savings, and that is the way it will be for most other customers. The tax credit doesn’t have to be permanent. Once the infrastructure is in place with wider adoption, the savings will be there because of the abundance of natural gas. Tom via businessfleet.com
t’s a shame the rest of the alternative fuels didn’t get their benefits along with ethanol. I disagree that the environmental benefits of ethanol fuel don’t measure up — research done at the U.S. Department of Energy labs and other sources show a positive impact when compared with petroleum fuels. Also, public policy can ensure that any and all alternative fuels are produced and used in an environmentally beneficial manner. Maggie via businessfleet.com
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Business Fleet 3520 Challenger St. Torrance, CA 90503 firstname.lastname@example.org
A Waste of Money
was surprised when I read the news item entitled, “DOT Cracks Down on Distracted Drivers.” I didn’t know it was the DOT’s job to dictate non-commercial vehicle law. Sounds like a waste of money. Wrenchhead via e-mail
Switch Back to GasolinePowered Trucks?
ue to the mandated DPF (diesel particulate filter) systems, the excess fuel used for burn-off puts excessive fuel in the crankcase of trucks. It is so bad that the new dipsticks have an extra scale just for that purpose to indicate the wash into the crank.
Some fleets would be better off going back to gasolinepowered trucks. The new diesel emission mandates just don’t work in certain industries. The oil and filter must be changed out at that point. Some fleets have more than 80 percent of a truck’s time on the clock as idle time. This will cause expensive downtime due to resets on DPF systems, costing $250 each time it goes in for this service. Some fleets would be better off going back to gasolinepowered trucks. The new diesel emission mandates just don’t work in certain industries.
STAFF Publisher Edward J. Bobit Group Publisher Sherb Brown Executive Editor Chris Brown 310-533-2499 email@example.com Managing Editor/ Art Director Tariq Kamal Senior Editor Justina Ly Editorial Consultant Howard Rauch Production Director Kelly Bracken eMedia and Print Production Manager Brian Peach 310-533-2548 Great Lakes Sales Manager Robert Brown, Jr. 248-601-2005 firstname.lastname@example.org Sales Manager Eric Bearly 310-533-2579 email@example.com Sales & Marketing Coordinator Tracey Tremblay Business and Editorial Office Bobit Business Media 3520 Challenger St. Torrance, CA 90503 Phone: 310-533-2400 Fax: 310-533-2503 E-mail: info@ businessfleet.com Subscription Inquiries 888-239-2455 BobitPubs@Halldata.com
Chairman Edward J. Bobit President & CEO Ty F. Bobit Chief Financial Officer Richard E. Johnson Printed in U.S.A.
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THE CHALLENGE: STAYING CONNECTED OUR SOLUTION: GM COMMERCIAL SOUNDING BOARDS
| 2011 CHEVROLET IMPALA | 2011 CHEVROLET CAPRICE POLICE PATROL VEHICLE2 | 2011 CHEVROLET CRUZE ECO1
GM Commercial Sounding Boards provide an important voice to ﬂeet managers. They’re comprised of ﬂeet professionals and GM Fleet and Commercial Operations management, who stay informed on the industry, its best practices and trends. By keeping our lines of communication open, we use valuable feedback from ﬂeet managers to make sure our vehicles and services meet their high standards. For more solutions, visit gmﬂeet.com. 1
Available to order. Available to order beginning January 2011. Shown with equipment from an independent supplier and is not covered by the GM New Vehicle Limited Warranty. GM is not responsible for the safety or quality of independent supplier alterations. ©2011 General Motors LLC
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U.S. DOT PROPOSES REAR VIEW VISIBILITY RULE
he U.S. Department of Transportation proposed on Dec. 3 a new safety regulation to help eliminate blind zones behind vehicles that can hide the presence of pedestrians. The proposal, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, would expand the required field of view for all passenger cars, pickup trucks, minivans, buses and low-speed vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 10,000 pounds. NHTSA believes automobile manufacturers would most likely install rear-mounted video cameras and in-vehicle displays to meet the proposed standards. To meet the requirements of the proposed rule, 10 percent of each automaker’s new vehicles must comply by Sept. 2012, 40 percent by Sept. 2013, and 100 percent by Sept. 2014. NHTSA estimates that, on average, 292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occur each year as a result of back-over crashes. Of these, 228 fatalities involve light vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less. Approximately 44 percent of fatalities involving light vehicles are children under five, and 33 percent of fatalities involving light vehicles are people 70 years of age or older.
The Sonata was one of four Hyundai models to earn an IIHS Top Safety rating for 2011.
IIHS Selects 2011 Top Safety Picks
he Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded 66 vehicles with its 2011 Top Safety Pick. The winners included 40 cars, 25 SUVs and a minivan. In addition to receiving good ratings in Institute tests on front, side, rollover and rear crash protection, winners must also offer electronic stability control (ESC), a crash-avoidance feature that signifi-
cantly reduces risk of a collision or rollover. In 2009, the IIHS toughened criteria for Top Safety Pick by adding a requirement that all qualifiers must earn a “good” rating for performance in a roof-strength test to assess protection in a rollover crash. “In just a year, automakers have more than doubled the number of vehicles that meet the criteria for Top Safety Pick,”
according to Adrian Lund, the Institute’s president. “That gives consumers shopping for a safer new car or SUV — from economy to luxury models — plenty of choices to consider in most dealer showrooms. In fact, every major automaker has at least one winning model this year.” To see the list of IIHS Top Safety Picks for 2011, click on the “News” tab at wwww.iihs.org.
SENATE BILL EXTENDS ETHANOL TAX CREDIT, TARIFF
n Dec. 16, the United States Senate passed a tax policy package that includes a one-year extension of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) at its current level of $0.45 per gallon. Without congressional action, the tax credit and tariff were set to expire on Dec. 31. Both houses of Congress must agree on terms for a bill to become law. Biofuels subsidies would cost $7 billion, according to congressional economists.
The bill also extends through 2011 the $1/gallon biodiesel tax credit that expired at the end of 2009. It would cost nearly $2 billion, according to cost estimates for the bill. Ethanol leaders say their fuel, which accounts for nearly 10 percent of gasoline sales, reduces U.S. reliance on imported oil and is a proven job creator for rural America. The industry said it would accept lower subsidies and other reforms as part of a longer-term plan for biofuels.
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Congress Closes Book on Green Car Tax Credit
ongress ended a five-year-old tax credit of up to $4,000 for hybridelectric, clean-diesel vehicles and naturalgas vehicles. Congress declined to include the credit as part of an $858 billion tax bill approved by the Senate on an 81-19 vote on Dec. 15. “It’s a real problem,” Sen. Carl Levin, (D-Detroit) told The Detroit News, but he added that Congress could try to restore the credit in 2011. In 2005, Con-
gress limited the number of hybrids that could qualify for the credits. Once an individual manufacturer sold more than 60,000 qualified vehicles, the credit was gradually phased out for subsequent cars. Tax credits are still available for all-electric and plug-in electric vehicles, such as the Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt. Electric vehicles purchased in or after 2010 may be eli-
FORD TO COMPLETE REARCAMERA ROLLOUT ON MOST MODELS
gible for a tax credit of up to $7,500. Tax credits still exist for users of ethanol and biodiesel. Congress passed in December a tax policy package that includes a one-year extension of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) at its current level of $.45 per gallon. The bill also revives through 2011 the $1 a gallon biodiesel tax credit that expired at the end of 2009.
CHRYSLER ANNOUNCES PRICING FOR ALL-NEW 300 SERIES SEDANS
hrysler’s all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 series sedans have a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $27,995 (including destination charge of $825). The 300 series sedans will be available in the United States in four models: Chrysler 300, 300 Limited, 300C and 300C AWD. In addition, the Luxury and SafetyTec Groups provide customers with high-value content and innovative technology directly targeted for their specific needs.
Chrysler 300 Limited
Chrysler 300 Limited with Luxury Group
Chrysler 300C AWD
Chrysler 300 Limited with SafetyTec Group
Chrysler 300C with SafetyTec Group
Chrysler 300C AWD with SafetyTec Group
ord Motor Co. will complete the rollout of a rear-view camera system that will be available on nearly all Ford and Lincoln models by the end of 2011. Ford uses an exterior camera embedded in the
rear of the vehicle that activates when the driver shifts into reverse. Drivers can choose to monitor the video display in their rearview mirror or navigation system screen. The camera’s low-light capability, combined with the intensity of the vehicle’s reverse lamps, helps illuminate the image even in dark areas, according to the OEM. “We believe Ford’s rear-view camera system is easiest to use because there are lines to mark the vehicle’s size for easier parking in tight spots,” said Ford’s Jim Buczkowski. Ford’s system will be offered on most full-size pickups, vans and crossovers — including the new 2011 Ford Explorer — with the added benefit of helping truck owners align and hitch trailers.
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WSJ: Commercial Delivery Fleets Are Ideal EV Users
lectric vehicles are gaining traction among commercial delivery fleets. Staples Inc., the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo, FedEx Corp., and AT&T are among the major companies that have begun purchasing electric delivery trucks, according to The Wall Street Journal. Proponents say delivery trucks are wellsuited to the limited range of battery power because they generally drive short, defined routes. Electric vehicles can also provide savings to companies over diesel or gasoline models — and not only in fuel costs. Staples has ordered 41 trucks from Smith
Electric Vehicles of Kansas City, Mo., and will begin receiving them in January. Although they cost about $30,000 more than a diesel, the trucks are expected to recover that expense for Staples in 3.3 years. The office supply company also says it will save about $6,500 per year in fuel costs per electric vehicle over a diesel model. Staples said the annual maintenance cost of a diesel delivery truck, including oil, transmission fluid, filters and belts, is about $2,700. The cost for an electric truck — which has no transmission and requires no fluids,
PIKE RESEARCH: HYBRID TRUCK MARKET TO GROW
report from Boulder, Colo.-based Pike Research indicates that the hybrid truck sector will reach an inflection point over the next few years, increasing from just 9,000 vehicles sold in 2010 to more than 100,000 vehicles annually in 2015. “Payback periods on hybrid drive trains are improving for medium and heavy-duty truck classes, particularly as oil prices continue to rise,” said senior analyst Dave Hurst. “An increased focus on efficiency and regulatory compliance among fleet managers, combined with a variety of new models being introduced by truck manufacturers, will lead to substantial growth in this market over the next five years.”
filters or belts — is only $250. Electric trucks use “regenerative” braking,
In 2010, Staples Inc. launched a pilot program to test the viability of diesel-electric hybrid trucks (above). The office supply company will follow that program with the purchase of allelectric trucks this year.
which returns some of the force of stopping to the batteries in the form of electricity. The brakes can last four or five years, rather than
one or two, before they need tuning or replacement. Electric trucks also don’t need the urea exhaust-cleaning system of diesels, which cost about $700 a year to maintain. Electric motors also last longer and are less complex than diesel engines. Electric trucks carry a substantially higher MSRP, however. A base Smith model with a 50-mile battery range would go for about $90,000, compared with about $60,000 for a diesel model. But overall, Staples expects to save nearly $60,000 over the 10year life of an electric truck over a comparable diesel model.
FORD, AZURE DELIVER FIRST TRANSCON ELECTRICS
ast month, Ford Motor Co. and Azure Dynamics started shipping the first Ford Transit Connect Electrics to customers in North America and to the United Kingdom for a demonstration project. The all-electric commercial vans, built on the Ford Transit Connect platform, are equipped with Azure Dynamics’ patented Force Drive battery-electric powertrain. The zero-emission Transit Connect Electric has a range of up to 80 miles per full charge. Ford announced the collaboration with Azure Dynamics in October 2009. Initial production began in the fourth quarter of 2010 with full production of the Transit Connect Electric slated to ramp up in April 2011.
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ALG SELECTS SUBARU, INFINITI AS TOP BRANDS FOR RESIDUAL VALUE AWARDS
LG, a provider of residual values and depreciation data, named its 12th Annual Residual Value Awards winners on Nov. 17. The awards honor the vehicles in each segment that are predicted to retain the highest percentage of their MSRP after three years. This year’s awards are based on 2011 model year vehicles. Mainstream brand Luxury brand Subcompact car Compact car
Subaru of America Infiniti Honda Fit Hyundai Elantra
Sporty car Alternative powertrain
MINI Cooper Countryman Volkswagen Golf TDI
Ford F-Series Super Duty
Near luxury car Luxury car Luxury sport Luxury alt-fuel Luxury compact SUV Luxury midsize SUV Luxury fullsize SUV
issan North America Inc. will launch its 2012 Nissan NV, the company’s first entry into the U.S. commercial vehicle market, in spring 2011. The 2012 NV starts at $24,590 and will be available through select Nissan Commercial Vehicle dealers. The NV lineup offers durable body-on-frame construction and choice
of standard roof or high roof configurations. Models include the NV1500 with standard 4.0-liter V-6 engine, the NV2500 HD with a choice of 4.0-liter V-6 or 5.6-liter V-8 and the NV3500 HD with standard 5.6-liter V-8. All 2012 NV models are equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission and are available in two grades, the S and SV.
Lexus LS 460 Nissan GT-R Mercedes-Benz E 350 BlueTec
EDMUNDS NAMES CHEAPEST VEHICLES TO INSURE
BMW X3 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Infiniti QX56
Hyundai Announces 2011 Fleet Incentives yundai Motor America announced its commercial fleet street incentives for 2011 model-year vehicles. GS and GL Trim levels, as well as vehicles with manual transmissions, are not eligible for commercial fleet purchases. For additional informa-
Nissan Announces Pricing for 2012 NV Commercial Van Lineup
tion, contact Richard Pipenhagen at (714) 887-2575. ■ Accent: $750 ■ Elantra: $1,000 ■ Sonata: $2,000 ■ Azera: $2,000 ■ Genesis (Sedan):
$2,000 ■ Tucson: $1,000 ■ Santa Fe: $1,500 ■ Veracruz: $1,500
dmunds.com has released its annual list of new cars and trucks with the lowest insurance cost. The automotive data provider’s rankings are based on five-year projections for all models in each class. Each model’s costs were determined based on the trim level that is the least expensive to insure. To see the full list for each segment, visit www.edmunds.com.
Top 3 Trucks 1. Chevrolet Colorado 2. GMC Canyon 3. Ford Ranger Top 3 Coupes 1. Kia Forte 2. Honda Civic 3. Chevrolet Cobalt Top 3 Sedans 1.Volkswagen Jetta 2. Chevrolet Aveo 3. Suzuki SX4 Top 3 Hatchbacks/ Wagons 1. Smart Fortwo 2. Chevrolet HHR 3. Nissan Cube Top 3 SUVs/Crossovers 1. Hyundai Tucson 2. Jeep Patriot 3. Kia Sportage
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WE DIDN’T JUST PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS. WE OBSESSED.
THE NEW 2011 CHRYSLER 200 Designed and energized with power, grace and impeccable manners. A premium, wellappointed mid-size sedan that’s further proof of our dedication to quality and craftsmanship. • Sophisticated ergonomic interior is meticulously crafted — everything you touch is re⇒ned • Best-in-class power1 with available 6-speed automatic 3.6L Pentastar Flex-Fuel V6 engine delivers 283 hp and 29 hwy mpg2 • Versatile 2.4L World Engine Dual VVT 16V I-4 (standard) • Advanced dual front air bags3, front-seat-mounted side air bags3, side-curtain air bags3 for front and rear plus Electronic Stability Control4 (ESC) — all standard • Front-passenger seatback folds ⇓at and rear seats split 60/40 for added utility and storage • 5-Year/100,000-Mile Powertrain Limited Warranty5 The new Chrysler 200. Passion for the road, passion for your ⇓eet.
Based on Chrysler Group LLC standard mid-size sedan segment. 22010 EPA estimated miles per gallon, actual mileage may vary with driving conditions. 3 Always sit properly in the seat with the seat belt fastened. 4 Always drive carefully, consistent with conditions. Always wear your seat belt and obey traf⇒c laws. 5 See your dealer for complete details and a copy of the 5-Year/100,000-Mile Limited Warranty. Chrysler is a registered trademark of Chrysler Group LLC.
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IF YOU HAVE A HUNCH SOME OF
your drivers are padding their hours, you’re probably right. But how do you prove they’re taking an extra 15 minutes here and there? And is it worth the confrontation? In boom times, it’s easy to look the other way. But in this post-recession economy, businesses are faced with growing revenue without increasing resources or, worse, trimming expenses by cutting staff. Confronting drivers who are per-
and vehicle efficiency, tracks idle time and confirms overtime costs. In addition, the system provides fleet managers with customized reports, alerts, routing and mobiledevice access. GPS Insight’s customized reports show when and where drivers make poor decisions — or fraudulent ones — while on the road. “When there’s an actual fraudulent scenario going on, we see people padding hours as much as 30 to 40 percent,” Donat says.
Payroll fraud and inefficient use of labor and resources are ever-present concerns for the harried fleet manager. Learn how three fleets are using GPS systems to realize significant reductions in payroll expense. BY J U S T I N A LY
USING GPS TO REDUCE petrating timecard or payroll fraud is hard enough. But these tasks can be doubly difficult for business owners with small fleets, because they are more likely to juggle many responsibilities. “With fleet sizes of 15 to 30 vehicles, there are so many things going on that the [business] owner can’t always keep an eye on, especially without a dedicated fleet manager,” says Robert Donat, president of GPS Insight, a tracking and navigation technology provider based in Scottsdale, Ariz. Fortunately for small fleet administrators, technology has made the tasks of managing employees’ time and reducing payroll costs easier to handle. Telematics-based GPS fleet management systems allow company executives and fleet managers to track vehicles, employees, driving routes and time spent on the job. As a result, this technology can improve a company’s overall operational efficiency while reducing expenses and increasing profit. NO MORE PADDING OF HOURS The fleet tracking system from GPS Insight offers a Web-based platform that monitors driver productivity 12
Those reports monitor odd-hours usage, speeding and many types of location accounting. This data can be inputted into Google Earth for a more complete visualization of errant activities, Donat says. In a typical scenario, GPS Insight technology was used to help CBMI, a Calif.-based plumbing, electrical and construction company, settle customers’ disputes by verifying the work hours reported by employees.
The first week after the system was installed, the construction company caught three service technicians inflating their field reports. “GPS Insight has saved us a minimum of 10 percent on our labor costs, since we believe we were losing up to 45 minutes per day per employee based on faulty timekeeping and outright misrepresentation on field reports,” says Dan Zaharoni, the company’s CFO.
Biodiesel recycler All Valley Environmental uses the system from Telogis Inc. to monitor inconsistencies in arrival and departure times, inefficient driving routes and time spent on location.
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Shumate Mechanical uses the MARCUS Mobile GPS solution from Discrete Wireless to manage its HVAC vans. Frank Steinocher, CIO, says the system has resulted in a 12-percent reduction in payroll expense.
E PAYROLL STOP CONGREGATING IN THE FIELD Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Telogis Inc. is a provider of location-based services. The company’s fleet solution tracks vehicles, optimizes routes, monitors on-time or late arrivals and idling time and can generate reports for each vehicle, fleet, driver or team. Fleet managers also can receive alerts via e-mail or text messages for immediate exception reporting. The Telogis Mobile solution integrates with Telogis Fleet and connects drivers in the field with the office. The system also has an “Hours of Service Compliance” tool, which automatically calculates and stores drivers’ activities by recording onduty, off-duty, sleeper and driving events — all while displaying the available hours of drive time. Drivers are given unique identification numbers so they can log in to the system and update their mobile time cards. “If a vehicle goes home with the driver, the system has the capability of knowing exactly when the ignition was turned on,” says Sean McCormick, product manager for Telogis Inc. “We can then track whether it has moved or not.” WWW.BUSINESSFLEET.COM
The system also can indicate if drivers assemble in a location other than the service yard to take an unauthorized break together, which McCormick terms “congregation of workers in the field.”
KEEPING DRIVERS HONEST Mike Ledieff is the operations manager for All Valley Environmental, a Fresno, Calif. biodiesel recycling company. The Telogis system has become an invaluable tool for manag-
“I’m not here at four in the morning when these guys are taking off. So if they’re hanging out and having a cup of coffee, it’s going to show up in that GPS report.” ing All Valley’s 12-vehicle fleet. “In this day and age, I wear quite a few hats at the company. I’m sales, insurance, risk management [and] operations logistics. I do it all over here,” Ledieff says. “Having a system like this to do part of my logistics for me is awesome.” The system gives Ledieff the ability to generate a daily driver report to monitor inconsistencies in arrival and departure times, inefficient driv-
ing routes and time spent on location. “I’m not here at four in the morning when these guys are taking off. So if they’re hanging out with each other and having a cup of coffee, it’s going to show up in that GPS report,” he says. Since he started using the system in 2009, Ledieff has seen a 25 percent drop in payroll expenses. Driver efficiency has increased by approximately 25 percent, and fuel and maintenance costs are down 20 percent. During the initial rollout of the GPS system, Ledieff caught some of his drivers purposely going off-route for up to 30 minutes at a time, or driving out of their way to have lunch at certain restaurants. In other cases, well-meaning drivers were spending too much time on the road because they didn’t know the quickest way to the job site. The Telogis system can automatically provide drivers with the most efficient routes, ensuring that more time is made available for actual work. In addition to keeping track of drivers’ hours, the system automates some of Ledieff’s customer service tasks. After a driver completes a recycling job, the system will automatically notify the customer via email
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TECHNOLOGY when the recycling truck arrived and how long it remained on site, and even thank the customer for his or her business. Ledieff says the GPS system keeps his drivers honest about their labor hours and locations, but it also helps him acknowledge his best workers. “It’s another way to recognize a driver when they’re back late because they’ve been working hard,” he says. INCREASING ACCOUNTABILITY Shumate Mechanical, an HVAC company based in Duluth, Ga., needed to automate tasks, reduce overall costs and increase revenue. After looking at several systems, the company chose the MARCUS Mobile GPS solution from Roswell, Ga.based Discrete Wireless. The system is presently implemented in 60 of the company’s 220 fleet vehicles,
“With the accountability of a GPS system in his truck, it all becomes moot,” Steinocher says. “Now, when he says he’s there, we know he’s there. When he’s not there, we know he’s not there.” Steinocher estimates that service technicians had been able to add an average of one hour per shift to their
“You don’t want to see everything that happens 100 times a day.You want to see those things that happen every now and then that cost you money.” timesheets, just by writing down that they arrived 15 minutes earlier or left 15 minutes later to a jobsite. By using the GPS system as an electronic timecard, he has reduced his payroll expenses by 12 percent.
ing its drivers. “You don’t want to see everything that happens 100 times a day. You want to see those things that happen every now and then that cost you money,” Steinocher says. WORKING TOGETHER The success these fleets have achieved with their respective GPS tracking systems shows how technology can improve fleet operations and reduce payroll costs. However, the right approach to implementation will affect the success of the investment. Understanding human nature is vital. “By and large, drivers tend to do the right thing,” Donat says, “but they take liberties when they’re not being called out on them.” Steinocher knew some drivers would grumble about the “Big Brother” aspect of GPS tracking, so he stressed the ability of the system
GPS Insight clients can use Google Earth Street View to visualize an address. This makes it easier to tell if your driver was filling up on a Slurpee instead of servicing a customer.
according to Shumate’s CIO, Frank Steinocher. The MARCUS system tracks vehicles, idle time and drivers’ arrival and departure times. The Web-based program provides the real-time status of vehicles, including current location, time en route and traffic status using a Google Maps interface, and the mobile version can be accessed from PDAs and smartphones. Prior to using the system, Steinocher says the company relied on a service technician’s word as proof of whether or not he was at a jobsite. 14
Shumate also has reduced labor by 10 percent and increased service revenue by 9 percent, because technicians and vehicles are used more efficiently. Steinocher says the increase in unused work hours has allowed the company to add an extra customer every four days or so, resulting in more business and more revenue. Discrete’s GPS system allows Shumate’s fleet managers to see everything that happens in the field, but the company chooses to manage by exception rather than micromanag-
to improve the working environment for both management and drivers. “The GPS [system] had to have a purpose. It wasn’t that we don’t trust you,” he recalls telling his drivers. “We’re a family-owned operation. We built this establishment up from working elbow to elbow with ownership and people that have known each other for 20 years. The GPS [system] is utilized as a form of navigation, dispatching and equipment accountability. I know you’re working as hard as I’m working, so let’s work together to get the job done.” BF WWW.BUSINESSFLEET.COM
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Avoids the herd. If you want to stand out from the masses, you need to move in a different direction. An exhilarating way to do it is from behind the wheel of the all-new Saab 9-5 Sport Sedan. With an efﬁ cient turbocharged 4-cylinder engine available and no-charge scheduled maintenance included,* it helps keep your costs low. As a leader in active safety technology, we also help keep drivers safe. But it’s our unique Scandinavian design that really sets us apart, keeping your company’s image ahead of the pack. For more ﬂeet information about the new Saab 9-5, or any other model in the outstanding Saab lineup, please call (248 ) 581.0885 or email john.gaydash@ saab.com.
*For the ﬁrst three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes ﬁrst, provided the service is performed within 2,000 miles of the recommended service interval. See dealer for details.
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A PLAN FOR
Since Will Smith joined Vector Resources, the company has expanded from a cable installation business to a major IT network provider for Fortune 500 companies. Learn how Smith has managed the fleet to keep pace.
BY TA R I Q K A M A L
IT’ S AN UNCOMMONLY R AINY
morning at Vector Resources Inc., and the lobby of the company’s Torrance, Calif. headquarters is host to a parade of visitors coming in from the cold. They’re a contingent of employees of information networking giant and Vector business partner Hewlett-Packard, stopping to sign the guestbook on their way to the office’s first-floor classroom for a daylong training session. That a Southern California-based IT network solutions provider should
Smith is able to monitor Vector’s fleet from a custom-built command center in his office. 16
play host to representatives of one of the world’s largest corporations comes as no surprise to Will Smith. As Vector’s director of fleet services and warehousing, he has played both witness and accomplice to the company’s two decades of steady growth. BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER Vector Resources was founded in 1988 as a communications cable installation business. In the two-plus decades since, the company has expanded to 350 employees and now takes on massive systems integration projects, designing, installing and maintaining networks for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to large urban school districts to major hospitals and logistics centers. When Smith joined the company’s five-man warehouse crew in 1999, the fleet matched the company’s still-slender profile. “When I started my career at Vector, we had one location and four vehicles,” he says. “A 1999 Dodge cargo van, a 1999 Chevy stakebed, a 2000 Chevy Silverado pickup and a 1980-something Toyota pickup we called ‘Little Red.’” Under Smith’s watch, that fourvehicle fleet grew to 30 mediumduty trucks, cargo vans and pickups, with four more to be added this year. The company now has four locations, each of which soon will serve as a sales and distribution point. The newest office — and first outside California — is in Phoenix. Each distribution point requires at least one medium-duty box truck, which will double as a mobile workstation. Each of Vector’s five box trucks racks up 8,000–10,000 miles
per year, as do the company’s two stakebed trucks. Then there’s Vector’s fleet of 17 vans, which make an average of 15,000–20,000 miles’ worth of service calls each year. CALLING IN REINFORCEMENTS As the number of vehicles grew, managing the fleet became a full-time job on its own. But Smith remained in charge of Vector’s warehouse and equipment purchasing operations, and it soon became clear that he would need help on the fleet side. His search for assistance would lead him to Enterprise Fleet Management and account manager Tony Rangel. “Before Vector partnered with Enterprise, Will was handling everything in-house, including acquisition, maintenance, fuel oversight and disposal,” Rangel says. “Outsourcing those functions to us has helped free up his time to focus on other core responsibilities.” Additional benefits include Wright Express fuel cards, which Smith says offered a “significant” cost savings over their old provider, and the streamlining of fleet costs, which saves money and headaches in Vector’s accounts payable department. The new partnership led to several changes in Smith’s approach to fleet management. First and foremost, he was able to streamline his process for
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Will Smith’s dual role at Vector Resources, which includes directing fleet as well as warehousing and purchasing operations, requires him to work closely with executives such as Phil Bonney, the company’s marketing chief.
ensuring that all company vehicles meet or exceed safety standards — and were ready to go to work. Now, each vehicle’s usage and roadworthiness are carefully tracked, and unexpected repairs are rare. “[Enterprise]’s most important contribution is its vehicle maintenance program,” he says. “I’ve found that, if our mechanical needs are handled smoothly and professionally, I don’t really have to worry about downtime. And if the schedule is right, I have a vehicle coming online the moment I take one offline.” He is able to monitor each vehicle from his office with the help of the Xora GPS system. Their signals feed into a monitoring system that was custom-built by Vector network technicians. When the trucks and vans reach end of cycle, Smith will continue his strategy of purchasing new vehicles
from the factory or dealer lots and remarketing via direct sales. He has at times considered leasing — and the new office in Phoenix required a few short-term rentals — but he plans to keep the titles in Vector’s hands for the foreseeable future. MAKING A STATEMENT Another new fleet initiative is the addition of vinyl-wrap graphics to Vector’s largest vehicles. The graphics depict a striking business woman dressed in a pinstripe power suit, striking a triumphant pose in front of a trio of networking servers. However, this particular businesswoman also sports a navy blue mask and cape, standing under a caption that reads: “Vector Superheroes Connect People to Information.” The truck-wrap initiative was developed in-house under the direction of Robert Messinger, Vector’s executive vice president of sales and operations. “We wanted something that would grab people’s attention, and based on the feedback we’re getting, we have achieved that,” Messinger says. “It’s not complicated: We wanted folks out there to notice our trucks, and it’s working.”
“The owners of our company have a vision: That IT networks are positioned to drive companies, but that you need a confident, trustworthy professional to get you there,” adds Vector’s marketing director, Phil Bonney. “That’s how we came up with the superhero idea. It promotes Vector’s front-edge approach.” The vinyl wraps could soon appear on the service vans as well. Bonney and Smith share the belief that the moves the company has made on the fleet side will benefit Vector’s continued growth. To that end, Smith has added a quarterly inspection program to Enterprise’s service and rotation schedule, and company policy mandates that every driver complete a pre-trip visual inspection to be sure the vehicles look their best. “We remain focused on the fact that our fleet is an important part of our company image,” Smith says. “We keep our vehicles clean — always have, always will. Our truck-wrapping initiative only underscores this.” BF
VECTOR RESOURCES BY THE NUMBERS
he Vector service and installation fleet started with four vehicles in 1999 and will grow to 34 by the end of 2011. Currently, that fleet includes: ■ Five Chevrolet or GMC mediumduty box trucks with built-in mobile workstations; ■ Two Chevrolet Silverado 3500 stakebeds; ■ Six pickups, including three Silverados, one Toyota Tacoma, one Toyota Tundra and one Ford F-150; and ■ 17 service vans, including 11 Chevrolet Expresses and six Ford Econolines.
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FLEET PROFILE Owners of an upscale cupcake bakery have transformed their Mercedes Sprinter into a mobile sales center and an extension of their brand. BY C H R I S B ROW N
“WE WANTED TO BE THE LOUIS
Vuitton of cupcakes,” says Charles Nelson of Sprinkles, “the world’s first cupcake-only bakery” that he and wife Candace founded in 2005. With this prime directive, the coowners commissioned Austrian modernist architect Andrea Lenardin Madden to create the company’s upscale look and feel. It’s apparent in everything from Sprinkles’ Beverly Hills, Calif., storefront and retail displays to the Web site, mix packaging and even the cupcakes themselves. The elements are tied together with the Sprinkles’ “modern dot” logo used to identify cupcake flavors. But this design direction was lacking in their mobile operation, which predated the flourishing food truck phenomenon. Their traveling enter-
SPRINTER SPECS (U.S. AND CANADA)
Five model types: Crew Van (all new), Cargo Van, Passenger Van, MiniBus and Cab Chassis Vehicle lengths:
232.5”, 273.2” and 289.2” Wheelbases: 144” and 170” Roof heights: 96.3” and 107.5” GVWRs: 8,550 lbs., 9,990 lbs., and
11,030 lbs. Cargo capacity: up to 547 sq. ft. Payload capacity: up to 5,375 lbs. Fuel tank capacity: 26.4 gal. Cargo area height: up to 76.4 in. Engine: 3.0-liter BlueTEC V-6
diesel with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) system. Output: 188 hp, 325 lb.-ft. of torque
at 1,400-2,400 rpm Transmission: 5-speed, automatic 18
prise started at the movie studios, and setting up shop in their plain white vans and generic folding tables wasn’t cutting it, image-wise. “We said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we had something that felt like Sprinkles, but you pulled in, opened up and you were ready to go?’” Nelson recalls. They chose the Mercedes Sprinter for the job. “We consider ourselves a high-end boutique,” Nelson says. “The Mercedes brand is important to us.” The Nelsons took Lenardin Madden’s designs to West Coast Customs, the custom car shop behind MTV’s “Pimp My Ride.” The conversion achieved a mobile expression of the Sprinkles’ design style, right down to the dot logo on its wheel covers. “We wanted to bring all of the Sprinkles elements into a mobile vehicle and the Sprinter was really the only solution,” Nelson says.
A ROOM ON WHEELS In addition to its signature design, the Sprinter was converted to operate as a high-volume store. Powered by a 2,800-watt electric generator and cooled by a rear air-conditioning unit, the “Sprinklesmobile” was outfitted with a pivoting, height-adjustable serving counter, power-retractable awning and a mobile point-of-sale system. Similar to the store, the van’s custom racks are angled to keep the cupcakes from melting in the sun. The customization facilitates easy loading at the bakery and prompt service through the side window. The racks hold up to 1,500 cupcakes, a minor feat considering the store sold 2,000 cupcakes in its first week of business. The whole operation flips in and tucks away neatly for travel, leaving a flush side van panel. “When you see us driving down the road, you have no idea what it becomes when it opens up,” Nelson says. The need to move so many cupcakes made proper ergonomic design essential. The company’s old
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vans didn’t allow Nelson’s workers to stand up, a situation aggravated when transferring heavy items. With its step-in height, low load floor and wide rear-door opening, the Sprinter provided a great base to work with. “It’s a room on wheels,” he says.
OOD GH TO
MAKING THE SWITCH The Nelsons originally bought the Sprinter under the Dodge marque and had it serviced at a Dodge dealership. They switched to a Mercedes dealership when the brand transferred back to Mercedes in 2009, which hasn’t been a problem for Sprinkles. In fact, consolidating sales and service of the Sprinter once again under Mercedes has solved a “disconnect” when it comes to questions on options and conversions. “There’s now a more direct line to an answer,” Nelson says. The Sprinklesmobile averages 20,000 to 25,000 miles per year and 22 mpg. Badging aside, Nelson has been satisfied with the truck’s engineering from the get-go. “It takes three services on my [other] vans before I have to service my Sprinter,” he says. “It’s been an amazing workhorse for what we do.” ROAD TRIP! Sprinkles is growing, and the Nelsons are in the process of converting the rest of Sprinkles’ fleet to Sprinters to service recently added stores in Chicago, Houston and Dallas. On the heels of a month-long road trip to Chicago in 2010 with the original Sprinklesmobile, Nelson plans more trips for new openings in other areas of the country. Foreign expansion is planned as well. Marrying the distinct Sprinkles design with the tall, blank canvas of the Sprinter has made the Sprinklesmobile the perfect brand ambassador. “It’s gotten a lot of notoriety in every market we’ve been in,” Nelson says. “We’ve realized [the return on investment] probably in the first year, just in the marketing value.” BF
SAME TRUCK, NEW BADGE, NUMEROUS OPTIONS
he Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was first launched in Europe in 1995. It was introduced in North America in 2001 under the Freightliner badge, which continues to sell Sprinters. In 2003, a Dodge-branded version was introduced to the North American market, and a new-generation Sprinter was launched globally in 2006. As a result of the Daimler-Benz and Chrysler partnership termination, sales, marketing, distribution and service of the Sprinter in the U.S. reverted back to Mercedes-Benz USA in September 2009. In terms of warranty work, Sprinters sold as Dodges must be serviced by Dodge dealers. For non-warranty service and repairs of Dodge-branded Sprinters, customers also can check with their local Mercedes or Freightliner dealer. Under the direction of the newly created Daimler Vans USA LLC, the Sprinter is now sold as Mercedes-Benz- and Freightliner-branded models in the United States. At present, 84 Mercedes-Benz dealers and 49 Freightliner dealers sell the Sprinter in the U.S., with more dealers planned. When the Sprinter was under the Dodge brand, a popular accessory was Mercedes’ three-point star as a vehicle badge replacement. Now, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is being utilized in many diverse business niches, such as hotel and ski resort shuttles and high-end, service-oriented businesses such as florists, catering, mobile opticians and dog grooming. The Freightliner version continues to focus on its base of vocational commercial vehicle operations such as freight delivery, ambulance and emergency, as a tradesman’s tool and parts vehicle or even a farmer’s flatbed. Pricing has effectively remained flat, with slight hikes (less than $100 MSRP) on five of 10 models offered. Those increases were countered by a drop in prices between model years 2009 and 2010 of an average of 6 percent, according to the manufacturer.
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FORD TAKES FLEET VEHICLE CROWN
Business Fleet readers chose the Ford Fusion/Fusion Hybrid and the F-150 as Fleet Car and Truck of the Year. BY J E N N I F E R WA S H I N G TO N A N D B R I T TA N Y- M A R I E S WA N S O N
FORD TOOK TOP HONORS THIS
year by winning the Fleet Car and Truck of the Year awards with the 2011 Ford Fusion/Fusion Hybrid and 2011 Ford F-150 pickup. Sponsored by Automotive Fleet and Business Fleet magazines, the award is given annually and voted on by fleet professionals. Qualified fleet professionals cast their votes online for one car and truck out of 74 cars and 13 light-duty truck nominees, representing all of the major domestic and import-badged vehicles. FUSION AND FUSION HYBRID COMBINE EFFICIENCY AND PERFORMANCE The Ford Fusion’s all six-speed transmission lineup is available with I-4 and V-6 engine choices and a Hybrid model and Sport version. New features for 2011 include MyKey, available rain-sensing wip-
ers and HD radio. Integrated blindspot mirrors have been added to cars without the optional Blind Spot Information System. Ford SYNC communications and infotainment system can now be integrated with the available touchscreen voice-activated navigation system. The 2011 Fusion’s fuel-efficient powertrain lineup includes a 2.5L I-4 engine that achieves an EPA-estimated 23 mpg city/33 mpg highway with 20
175 hp and 172 ft.-lb. of torque. The I-4 engine is available with manual or automatic transmission. The Duratec 30 3.0L V-6 engine produces 240 hp and 222 ft.-lb. of torque and is flex-fuel capable. The engine can produce up to 250 hp when using E-85 fuel. The Fusion Sport features a 3.5L V-6 engine that offers 263 hp and 249 ft.-lb. of torque with regular unleaded fuel. New for 2011, I-4 automatic models are available with SelectShift manual gear control. SelectShift comes standard with both of the V-6 engines. The Ford Fusion Hybrid can operate up to 47 mph in pure electric mode, with a city driving range of more than 700 miles on a single tank of gas. Its 17-inch, eight-spoke wheels and eco-friendly seat fabric made from postindustrial 100-percent recycled materials help differentiate it from its gas-powered sibling. 2011 F-150 OFFERS CAPACITY AND DURABILITY The F-Series has been America’s best-selling truck for 33 years running, and the 2011 F-150 continues that tradition of reliability and durability, according to Ford. The 2011 F-150 offers fleet professionals improved horsepower, torque and fuel economy. For fleets, these improvements help increase productivity. Fleet managers can maximize their workload and vehicle fuel economy by choosing from four different powertrains available in 2011. Each engine is mated to a fuel-saving, sixspeed automatic transmission with optional SelectShift functionality.
SelectShift allows drivers to select a desired gear, which provides better control when hauling heavy loads or towing. The improved system uses an array of sophisticated electronic sensors to better predict the driver’s need for a downshift to provide engine braking and enhanced control. Projected to be up to 20 percent more fuel-efficient than the 2010 model, the 2011 F-150 comes equipped with electric power-assisted steering
(EPAS) on the 3.7L V-6, 5.0L V-8, and 3.5L EcoBoost powertrains. EPAS only draws power when needed, as opposed to hydraulic systems, which run continuously off the engine, decreasing fuel economy. Fleet professionals can also choose to have their F-150 equipped with SYNC and Ford Work Solutions. SYNC provides personalized traffic reports, turn-by-turn directions, and other information such as business listings, news, sports and weather. Ford Work Solutions features an in-dash computer with full highspeed Internet and wireless accessories such as a mouse and printer. Fleet managers can use Ford Work Solutions to maintain real-time inventory, secure large tools or equipment in the truck’s cargo area, or access telematics and diagnostics. BF WWW.BUSINESSFLEET.COM
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EFFICIENT SUBCOMPACT WITH STYLE TO SPARE
hen it arrived in showrooms last July, the 2011 Mazda2 marked Mazda’s reentry into the U.S. subcompact market for the first time since the 323 was discontinued in 1994. The car is available with limited options — one engine, two trim levels and no sunroof, telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth system or USB port — but pricing starts at $14,730. The Mazda2’s 16-valve, 1.5-liter I-4 gets an EPA-rated 29 mpg city and 35 mpg highway with a manual, five-speed transmission and 27/33 with a four-speed automatic. Despite a mere 100 hp and 98 lb.-ft. of torque, the car can go from zero to 60 mph in just under 10 seconds. That performance is aided by the fact that the Mazda2 tips the scales at a mere 2,300 lbs. (2,350 with the automatic transmission). The entry-level Sport trim package includes 15-inch steel wheels and all-weather tires, power windows and locks, a four-speaker 22
1.5L I-4, 100 hp Transmission/drive:
Five-speed manual, four-speed automatic, front-wheel drive Cargo space (cu. ft. max.):
27.8 Fuel tank capacity (gal.):
11.3 EPA fuel economy rating (city/highway mpg):
29/35 (manual), 27/34 (automatic)
stereo and 60/40-split, fold-down rear seats. The Touring edition offers upgraded seat fabric and a leatherwrapped steering wheel as well as a six-speaker stereo and a trip computer. Neither trim level includes a built-in navigation option, but dealers will have portable Garmin units available. The exterior styling sets the Mazda2 apart from its boxier competitors. The heavily sculpted wedge shape makes the car appear to be
moving even when parked, and the Touring model’s rear roof spoiler and fog lamps add panache to the dynamic design. The car’s feature color, “Spirited” green, is one of six available for 2011. Like the exterior, a sense of movement pervades the cabin. The dash appears to have been designed from the center out, with most of the controls, including the shifter, grouped together in the middle. Tasked with designing a roomy interior for a small car, Mazda’s engineers angled the Mazda2’s Apillars back and lowered the beltline. The result is a good view from any seat in the car, lending a feeling of airiness to the cabin. The interior color scheme is almost all-black, with a few silver accents and red piping on the Touring edition’s seat fabric. Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, dynamic stability control, side-impact door beams, dual front and side-curtain airbags and side airbags for front-seat passengers. WWW.BUSINESSFLEET.COM
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HIGHLY CUSTOMIZABLE IMPORT SUBCOMPACT
he North American version of the Fiat 500 is the first offering from the Italian carmaker since it joined forces with Chrysler. The new car made its debut at the 2010 Los Angeles International Auto Show, more than 50 years after the original Cinquecento was introduced in postwar Europe. The new version takes a few styling cues from its ancestor, including the unmistakable bug-eye headlights. Available only as a three-door hatchback, the 500 offers three trim levels (Pop, Sport and Lounge) and 14 exterior colors. Further customization options include a choice between black and ivory interior color schemes and several striping packages. The 500 is longer than a Smart Fortwo but shorter than a MINI Cooper. Business Fleet test drove the European spec’d model at Chrysler’s fleet preview in May and found it much closer to the latter’s driving characteristics. Though not
1.4L I-4, 101 hp Transmission/drive:
Five-speed manual, six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive Cargo space (cu. ft. min.):
6.5 Fuel tank capacity (gal.):
10.5 EPA fuel economy rating (city/highway mpg): TBD
sport-tuned like the MINI, the 500 had pep off the line, a firm grip on the road and dealt with highway speeds as well as any compact. Interior amenities include a Bose stereo system featuring six speakers and a subwoofer, an optional TomTom navigation system with a handheld device that docks to the dashboard and Fiat’s Blue & Me communications system. In addition to facilitating hands-free phone calls and MP3 selection, Blue & Me builds a profile for each driver through a USB port
that accepts any thumb drive. When the loaded thumb drive is plugged into a driver’s personal computer, they can read a detailed report explaining how their personal driving habits affect the car’s CO2 output. Under the hood, an all-new, 1.4liter I-4 engine delivers 101 hp at 98 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is being built at Chrysler’s Dundee, Mich. plant and features Fiat’s MultiAir technology, a system that was designed to boost the engine’s fuel economy by 10 percent while reducing CO2 output by the same amount. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission on the Pop and Sport editions and a six-speed automatic on the Lounge version. North American drivers who still remember the old “Fiat stands for ‘Fix It Again, Tony’” joke should be reassured by a factory warranty that includes bumper-to-bumper coverage up to four years or 50,000 miles and four years of roadside assistance, plus a three-year/36,000mile maintenance program.
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WORK TRUCK OR LUXURY SUV?
esigned to compete for the affections of luxury SUV buyers without sacrificing its workmanlike reputation, the new-for-2011 Durango offers unibody construction, three-row seating and an array of high-end features. Fittingly, it shares the same platform as the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, which in turn borrowed its underpinnings from MercedesBenz’s M-Class SUVs. “We took the performance car mantra from our own backyard and applied the formula to Durango,” says Joe Dehner, Chrysler’s head of Dodge and Ram design. “The Durango and Charger were designed at the same time, allowing the bold styling from the Charger to spill over to our all-new threerow SUV.” The most notable advances are under the hood, where drivers have a choice between a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 or a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8. Each represents an impressive upgrade in fuel economy and towing 24
3.6L V-6, 290 hp Optional engine:
5.7L V-8, 360 hp Transmission/drive:
Five-speed automatic, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive Cargo space (cu. ft. max.): 84.5 Towing capacity (lbs.):
6,200 (V-6) or 7,400 (V-8) Fuel tank capacity (gal.): 24.6 EPA fuel economy rating (city/highway mpg):
16/23 (RWD), 16/22 (AWD)
capacity. With standard rear-wheel drive, the V-6 boasts 16 mpg city and 23 mpg on the highway — an improvement of 14 percent — with 38 percent more horsepower and an 11 percent increase in torque. The Ram-like split-grille design is gone, in accordance with Chrysler’s decision to assign the Durango to its Dodge division. The new exterior appears to owe more to the Charger than
the Ram pickups, from the crosshair grille to the muscular fender arches and Coke-bottle side panels. The Durango is available in four trim levels, from the “Express” base model to the high-end “Citadel” edition. Available options include advanced voice-recognition controls for communication and entertainment systems, including Uconnect Web and SIRIUS satellite radio and backseat TV. Dodge upgraded materials and control surfaces throughout the cabin, lending a more refined touch even to the base-model interior. Electronic stability control leads the Durango’s list of 45 safety features, which also includes standard trailer-sway control and available hill-start assist. Also available are a proprietary blind-spot monitoring system and rear cross-path detection, while seat-mounted front-seat airbags, three-row side-curtain airbags and front-row active head restraints are standard across all four trim levels. WWW.BUSINESSFLEET.COM
1/12/11 2:51:12 PM
“Mommy Like. Daddy Like. CFO Like.” –Int –I ntel nt ellilliiCh el hoi oice® say ayss Si Sien enna en na has a his isto tory ry of be bein ing g th the e “Be Best st Overa vera ve rallll Val alue ue of th the e Ye Year ar”” wi winn nner er..1
The Sienna Minivan. There’s plenty to like. Including a bigger interior that’ll give you more than enough storage to fit just about anything for your business. And when it comes to bottom-line efficiencies, consider this, according to IntelliChoice,® Sienna has a history of having the highest retained value of any minivan out there.1 And what’s not to like about its low operating costs, high resale value and high return on investment. You like? We thought you and your bottom line might. To make Sienna a fleet vehicle and an asset to your business, call 1-800-732-2798 or go to fleet.toyota.com MY2011 shown with options. 1MY2001-2010 IntelliChoice.com award. IntelliChoice is a registered trademark of Automotive.com, LLC. ©2010 Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
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TO T 60 AL F ,0 U 0 0 EL M CO IL S ES T: TO TA M L A E COINT ST. ST E N AN CE AC Q (I N U I S DE CLU . CO ST D ST IN ES AT IO TO N TA ) DE L PR AC EC T U IA A TI L O N CO M ST P IL E E R
2011 FORD FOCUS S
TOYOTA COROLLA BASE
NISSAN SENTRA BASE
HONDA CIVIC DX
HONDA CIVIC HYBRID
TOYOTA MATRIX BASE
2011 CHEVROLET CRUZE 1FL
DODGE CALIBER SE
MAZDA MAZDA3 I
TOYOTA PRIUS I
MAKE/MODEL COMPACT CARS
HONDA CIVIC CNG GX
DODGE CHARGER BASE
2011 SUBARU IMPREZA 2.5I
2011 CHEVROLET MALIBU LS FLEET
CHEVROLET MALIBU HYBRID
VOLKSWAGEN JETTA S
CHRYSLER SEBRING SEDAN TOURING
HONDA ACCORD LX
NISSAN ALTIMA BASE
NISSAN ALTIMA HYBRID
2011 TOYOTA CAMRY LE
2011 TOYOTA CAMRY HYBRID
2011 FORD FUSION S
MAZDA MAZDA6 I
SUBARU LEGACY BASE
VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT KOMFORT
2011 FORD TAURUS SE
2011 CHEVROLET IMPALA LS FLEET
2011 BUICK LACROSSE CX
TOYOTA AVALON XL
NISSAN MAXIMA S
CHRYSLER 300 TOURING FLEET
2011 SUBARU OUTBACK BASE
SAAB 9-3 BASE
2011 LEXUS ES 350
2011 LINCOLN MKZ BASE
ENTRY-LEVEL LUXURY CARS
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TO T 60 AL F ,0 U 0 0 EL M CO IL S ES T: TO TA M L A E COINT ST. ST E N AN CE AC Q (I N U I S DE CLU . CO ST D ST IN ES AT IO TO N TA ) DE L PR AC EC T U IA A TI L O N CO M ST P IL E E R
2011 CADILLAC CTS 3.0
2011 VOLVO S40 T5
2011 VOLVO S60 T6
AUDI A4 2.0T PREMIUM
LINCOLN TOWN CAR EXECUTIVE
2011 CADILLAC DTS
2011 BUICK LUCERNE CX
MAKE/MODEL ENTRY-LEVEL LUXURY CARS
2011 MERCEDES-BENZ C CLASS C300
FULL-SIZE LUXURY CARS
PRESTIGE LUXURY CARS
2011 CADILLAC STS
MERCEDES-BENZ E CLASS E350
2011 VOLVO S80 3.2
2011 BMW 5-SERIES 528I
AUDI A6 3.0 PREMIUM
2011 LEXUS GS 450H
MERCEDES-BENZ S CLASS S550
LEXUS LS 460 BASE
LEXUS SC 430
2011 MERCEDES-BENZ E CLASS E350
ULTRA LUXURY CARS
AUDI A8 BASE
LEXUS LS 600H L
GMC CANYON W/T
DODGE DAKOTA ST
NISSAN FRONTIER XE
2011 FORD RANGER XL CHEVROLET COLORADO W/T
FORD F150 XL
2011 CHEVROLET SILVERADO 1500 W/T
DODGE RAM 1500 ST
2011 GMC SIERRA 1500 W/T
2011 FORD E150 VANS ECONOLINE
CHEVROLET EXPRESS CARGO G1500
GMC SAVANA G1500
DODGE GRAND CARAVAN BASE CHRYSLER TOWN & COUNTRY LX
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TO T 60 AL F ,0 U 0 0 EL M CO IL S ES T: TO TA M L A E COINT ST. ST E N AN CE AC Q (I N U I S DE CLU . CO ST D ST IN ES AT IO TO N TA ) DE L PR AC EC T U IA A TI L O N CO M ST P IL E E R
SUBARU FORESTER X
JEEP LIBERTY SPORT
2011 FORD ESCAPE XLS
2011 FORD ESCAPE HYBRID
JEEP COMPASS SPORT
2011 CHEVROLET EQUINOX LS
2011 FORD EDGE SE
MAZDA CX-7 I SV
TOYOTA HIGHLANDER BASE
TOYOTA HIGHLANDER HYBRID
2011 FORD EXPEDITION XL
2011 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE LAREDO
SUBARU TRIBECA PREMIUM
2011 FORD EXPEDITION XL
2011 CHEVROLET TAHOE COMM
2011 CHEVROLET TAHOE HYBRID
2011 CHEVROLET SUBURBAN 1500 COMM
2011 GMC YUKON COMMERCIAL
2011 GMC YUKON HYBRID
2011 TOYOTA SEQUOIA SR5
2011 GMC YUKON HYBRID DENALI
2011 LINCOLN NAVIGATOR
2011 BMW X5 XDRIVE35I
LEXUS RX 350
AUDI Q7 3.6 PREMIUM
2011 LEXUS RX 450H HYBRID
EXPENSES CALCULATED AT WEIGHTED AVERAGE FUEL PRICE OF $2.90/GALLON REGULAR UNLEADED AND $3.19/GALLON PREMIUM UNLEADED, AS OF 12/27/10. ■ ACQUISITION COSTS ARE BASED ON INVOICE LESS FLEET INCENTIVES, IF ANY.
BASED ON ACQUISITION COST LESS EXPECTED RESALE VALUE AT 36 MONTHS, 60,000 MILES. VEHICLES ARE MARKED WITH AN *. ■ CNG PRICE CALCULATED AT $1.92/GALLON. ■ CNG-FUELED
MODELS ARE 2010-MY UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED. COST DATA ©2011, VINCENTRIC, LLC. VINCENTRIC CALCULATES UPDATED LIFECYCLE COST INFORMATION EACH MONTH FOR OVER 1,900 VEHICLE CONFIGURATIONS PER MODEL YEAR.
1/12/11 2:47:13 PM
AT BOBIT BUSINESS MEDIA, WE WE’RE RE KEEPIN KEEPING THINGS
You can feel confident that within our magazines, websites and trade shows, Bobit Business Media is doing our share to maintain a “green” working environment. As individuals and as a company, we are dedicated to maintaining green initiatives and strive to be good citizens of this planet. Finding new and innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint is always a priority for Bobit Business Media.
Here H ere a are re a ffew ew o off tthe he w ways ays p g GRE REE EN: we’re keeping GREEN: • RECYCLED PAPER PROGRAM: 5 5,000 ,0 000 lbs lbs per month
• RECYCLED CANS & BOTTLES PPROGRAM: RO OGRAM M:
40 lbs per month • WINDOW TINTING: reduces energy ene ergy loss losss by 75%
• VARIABLE SPEED CONTROLL ON N HVAC UNITS: 7500 kWh saved d perr month
• RETROFITTING OLD T-12 FLUORESCENTS FLUO ORESCENT TS TO NEW T-8S: 3400 kWh ssaved aved d per month mon nth BOILER/HEATER: • EFFICIENT BOILER/HEATE ER: 30 3000 000 the therms erms saved per month
• PARTNERING WITH OU OUR PRINTER: PRIN NTER: developed develloped a “green” game me plan, saving pap paper, per, y ink and ene energy
• RECYCL RECYCLED CLED TO TONER ONER CARTRIDGES CARTRID IDGES AND AF05 -39.10 AF05-39.10 39 10
BATTERIES BATTE ERIES PROGRAM GRAM OUR • AND O UR ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY FRIEN NDLY Y
Digital Digit ital Editions We care about the environment and are setting a positive example.
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1/12/11 10:33:48 2:47:17 AM PM 1/11/11
Used Fleet Acquisition Made Easy Small and mid-size fleets can turn to Market Direct Fleet for procurement services of used cars and light-duty trucks and vans. BY J U S T I N A LY
or many fleets, used vehicles are an excellent alternative to buying or leasing new. It’s an option to consider when you have a shortterm assignment, need an extra truck on a new construction job, orr want an executive car on a budget. But finding vehicles that meet your specs for the right price, without consuming valuable time, is a different story. Market Direct Fleet (MDF) in Pocatello, Idaho, provides used fleet acquisition services to small and mid-size fleets, focusing on used passenger cars, light-duty vehicles up to 1-ton trucks and cargo vans and some mediumduty vehicles. “We can procure anything from current model year with super-low miles up to five- and six-yearold [vehicles] with 70,000 miles and anything in between,” says Adam Wood, president of MDF. In the past 12 months, MDF has had particular success procuring domestic sedans, year-old cargo vans and high-end executive vehicles. MDF has clients in all 50 states and has handled procurement requests from one vehicle to 130 32
in a single order. MDF interfaces with major leasing companies such as GE Capital, ARI and Enterprise, and also services fleets directly on a sales-only (non-lease) basis.
Due to the recent economic downturn and changes in the auto industry, the fleet market at the dealership level has changed. “There’s not a lot of inventory out there, and dealers are less willing to sell their new units into fleet situations,” Wood says. Buying used can be a good value for companies who plan to keep vehicles for long-term, high-mileage use. “It’s a sensible way to go, because the biggest hit in cost is depreciation,” he says. “[Buying used] can avoid a good 20 to 25 percent of that right off the top, yet still provide a vehicle that’s under factory warranty.”
FINDING THE RIGHT USED VEHICLE Fleet managers can send requests to MDF via email or phone. MDF checks dozens of sources from up to 50 markets to find the right vehicles. Th it provides a Then lis of the best availlist ab units that fit able th client’s specs. the MDF guarantees th the vehicles that it delivers have c clean title histories a are ready and f work. Many for u units come from f franchised dealer r retail stock and have already been fully serviced an and detailed. For vehicles that have not been through an OEMcertified pre-owned program, MDF has its own. “It’s a conglomerate of half a dozen manufacturer certification programs,” Wood says. “If the vehicle doesn’t pass, then we don’t deliver it.” Once the client approves the purchase, MDF secures the vehicles and arranges delivery. All vehicles are delivered with 30-day temporary permits. Sales paperwork can be sent to the fleet’s leasing company, directly to the fleet manager or both. MDF does not handle or arrange vehicle leases. “Our delivery time is
typically about a week, which makes us very appealing if there’s a need to make a quick purchase,” Wood says. WHAT OTHERS SAY Varsity Contractors, a national provider of janitorial and HVAC maintenance services, was MDF’s first client. Varsity leases through GE Capital and uses MDF to procure all its used vehicles. “We’ve had great service with Market Direct,” says John Kelly, Florida Regional VP for Varsity Contractors. Tyson Lee of System 1, a provider of janitorial services in multiple states, says MDF saves him the time and effort required for fleet shopping. Lee is a district manager with System 1 and oversees finance, customer service and other business matters. “I don’t have time to check out all the dealers and meet with people for the whole car-buying process,” Lee says. “Adam’s been good about understanding what [my] needs are. He’s not a typical used-car salesman. He knows that time is of the essence.” BF
CAR for co
For more information, visit www.mdfleet.com, call (877) 967-4500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. WWW.BUSINESSFLEET.COM
1/12/11 3:25:22 PM
CAR 2011 - the place for consignors to be
by February 7th & SAVE $100!
March 9-10, 2011 Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
eld in conjunction with the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance (IARA) Roundtable, and the National Auto Auction Association (NAAA) Spring Business Meeting you’ll get more bang for your buck than any other automotive remarketing conference!
Here’s a preview of topics we have in store for you: • Forecast of Residual Values • Next Generation of Online Remarketing Technology • Strategies to Remarket Higher-Mileage Inventory • Town Hall Meeting: Economic Forecast For 2011-2012
NAAA Comedy Show Starring Louie Anderson! Wednesday, March 9th at 7pm
BF0111toolbox.indd 33 CAR12-11revFPha_WT.indd 1
Visit www.CARCONFERENCE.com or call 800-576-8788 to Register 1/12/11 11:25:52 3:25:24 PM 12/8/10 AM
RETAIL FUEL PRICES AS OF DECEMBER 2010
FUEL REPORT SPRING COULD BRING NEARRECORD PRICES
.S. pump prices could rally to their second highest level in recorded history this spring. The slow but steady rise in prices in 2010 — largely motivated by 25-month highs in global crude oil prices — has resurrected an age old argument among consumer analysts and economists: Will pain at the pump crimp economic activity or alter behavior? While some analysts don’t think gasoline prices will see as dramatic of an increase this year, nearly all agree we will see higher prices in the spring. The per-gallon cost for gasoline could range anywhere between $3.25 to $3.80.
LOS ANGELES, CA
NEW ORLEANS, LA
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
ST. LOUIS, MO
SOURCE: WRIGHT EXPRESS, 97 DARLING AVE., SOUTH PORTLAND, ME 04106, WWW.WRIGHTEXPRESS.COM, OR (800) 395-0812
AVERAGE NATIONAL PRICE PER GALLON TREND $4.00 $3.75 $3.50 $3.25 $3.00 $2.75 $2.50 $2.25 $2.00 $1.75 $1.50 $1.25
JULY AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 GAS $2.71 $2.71 $2.68 $2.78 $2.84 $2.97 DIESEL $2.93 $2.96 $2.95 $3.06 $3.14 $3.24
JANUARY/ FEBRUARY ADVERTISERS COMPANY
Chrysler Fleet Operations
Conference of Automotive Remarketing (CAR)
Fleet Job Finder
Ford Motor Co.
GMAC Smart Auction
SAAB Cars North America
GM Fleet & Commercial GPS Insight
Verizon Wireless Volvo
1/12/11 2:46:35 PM
Wish finding the right employee was always this obvious?
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1/12/11 11/2/10 2:46:36 3:11:54PM PM
GPS: Handling Driver Pushback in the New Economy After the pain of layoffs and cutbacks during the recession, your staff should agree that efficiency is paramount — now more than ever. BY CHRIS BROWN
PHOTO ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM / JEFF MILNER
ne traditional hurdle to implementation of a GPS fleet tracking and management system is the “Big Brother Is Watching” scenario. You might be considering one such system today, and you might be mulling over this very concern. What kind of driver pushback will I get? Will I lose good people? How do I have that conversation with my drivers? We’ve been covering GPS and telematics technology in Business Fleet for 10 years, back when telematics had a capital “T” and the industry still employed acronyms such as AVL for “automatic vehicle location.” The systems have gotten much better, cheaper to install and run, and easier to manage. And as systems have become ubiquitous in fleets, drivers have become more compliant to them. But the Big Brother issue lingers. In the course of interviewing fleet administrators over the years on how they use their systems, I have often asked how they’ve dealt with the so-called Big Brother issue with their drivers. Here is a compendium of tips they shared to help you with the process: ■ Make sure your drivers know that you
have an obligation to manage your assets as efficiently as possible, for the good of the company and your drivers. This is especially relevant as we emerge from the Great Recession, when every business had to reevaluate practices and tighten processes. ■ Don’t spring the new system on drivers after you’ve installed it. Catching an employee red-handed through a sneak attack might give you a momentarily satisfying “Gotcha!” — but at what cost? Fleet managers have recounted how this has backfired and fostered ill will among their employees. ■ Instead, get your employees in on the conversation before you install a system. Involve key drivers in the process of choosing a system. Having buy-in from
respected employees will spread goodwill virally. ■ Know exactly what your system can and can’t do before you have the conversation. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, your drivers won’t have confidence in the game plan. ■ Explain how the system will benefit the company: A system could lower liability and insurance costs. Improved routing will get more jobs done in a day. Diagnostics keep vehicles better maintained. These all contribute to the overall bottom line. ■ Explain how the system will benefit the drivers: Telematics systems are routinely used to protect drivers against false claims regarding jobsite customer disputes, vehicle damage or driving infractions. Some of the hassle of doing pa-
perwork in the field can be reduced. Improved routing helps drivers get to a destination with less stress. Improved efficiency also allows more money for bonuses and raises. ■ Set rules for infractions from the get-go and stick by them. ■ Implement an incentive program. With metrics readily quantifiable, it’s a lot easier to identify — and reward — good behavior. Business owners and employees both were victims of the widespread layoffs and cutbacks that characterized the downturn. Now, more than ever, they get the idea that business efficiency is paramount. These fleets report that when it came down to it, getting drivers onboard with a system was less painful than expected. Most reported having to deal with at least some resistance, and many reported a defection or two. But losing them was, frankly, good riddance. One fleet manager summed it up: “For the most part, 90 percent of our drivers are all doing the right things and they don’t care. The ones who complained are up to something and they’re the ones you need to watch anyway.” Touché. BF WWW.BUSINESSFLEET.COM
1/12/11 2:47:49 PM
When it comes to mixing business with pleasure, there’s no need to leave either out of the driving equation. And the easiest way to do that is to put the stylish new 2011 MAZDA6 to work in your ﬂeet. Your CFO will appreciate the car’s affordability and high resale value.
And your employees will love driving a car this roomy, comfortable
and well equipped. It comes complete with power driver’s seat,*
power windows and AM/FM/MP3-compatible stereo. All of which makes you a hero in the break room and the boardroom. For a competitive price allowance, visit us at MazdaUSA.com/ﬂeet.
*Special order ﬂeet feature on base model. Optional equipment shown. ©2010 Mazda Motor of America, Inc.
1/12/11 2:47:52 PM
I DISPATCH FLEETS
WITH MY FINGERTIPS.
You know where your trucks are, where they’re going, you even know how fast they’re going. With a Verizon ﬂeet productivity and management solution on your desktop, you have all the oversight you need. When a delivery needs to be made, it’s only a keystroke away. VERIZONWIRELESS.COM/TRANSPORTATION
Network details & coverage maps at vzw.com. © 2010 Verizon Wireless.
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